Kevin Costner’s ‘Moral Death’ Clause Makes Yellowstone Season Conclusion a Headache for Taylor Sheridan After Actor’s Ugly Exit

With Costner’s chances of being brought back to the hit show looking slim, a report claimed a ‘moral death’ clause could determine John Dutton’s fate.

Kevin Costner’s ‘Moral Death’ Clause Makes Yellowstone Season Conclusion a Headache for Taylor Sheridan After Actor’s Ugly Exit


  • There is a “moral death” clause in Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone contract that keeps his character from dying in a way that would be humiliating or shameful.
  • According to reports, Costner left the show because of a disagreement with creator Taylor Sheridan.
  • Yellowstone can still find a way to kill John Dutton in a respectable and fitting way despite the moral death clause.
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In the critically acclaimed television series Yellowstone, Kevin Costner’s portrayal of John Dutton appears to be navigating uncharted territory. A Golden Globe and a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award were bestowed upon the actor, 69, for his remarkable performance. 


According to reports, the actor’s contract contains a remarkable clause that has the potential to shape the destiny of his beloved character, John Dutton, steering him away from potentially disgraceful or demeaning paths.

Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner in Yellowstone

What then happens to Yellowstone in the midst of these discussions and clauses? According to reports, Costner left the show because of a disagreement with co-creator Taylor Sheridan. The main character might be eliminated from Part 2 of the fifth and final season of the show as a result of Costner’s departure.


Kevin Costner and Taylor Sheridan at the Crossroads of Yellowstone’s Fate

Fans of Yellowstone, let us face it: the last few years have not been easy. Since the Paramount Network series continued with several setbacks, disagreements over contracts and alterations to the filming schedule have erupted into a conflict between the show’s co-creator, Taylor Sheridan, and star Kevin Costner. Despite their prior arguments, the internal conflict between the two has gotten worse.

Last year, Puck News’s Matthew Belloni claimed that Sheridan and Costner had a conversation to mend fences. Regretfully, things did not turn out as expected. According to Belloni, Costner sincerely wanted to go back and finish Yellowstone Season 5 Part Two. It would give the show an opportunity to “wrap up the character, fulfill the fans’ wishes, and help promote the first Horizon, which Costner directed last summer and Warner Bros. still has not given a release date”, according to Belloni.

A still from Yellowstone
A still from Yellowstone

Sheridan was ready to rewrite the last post-strike segment with an arc that would officially bid John Dutton farewell and set up the upcoming Matthew McConaughey sequel series. However, the team had no idea how last summer’s call between the two would turn out. According to Belloni’s report, the following occurred:


“Costner and Sheridan indeed got on a call together in early July to discuss how a return would work… But on the call, Costner, while speaking in a friendly tone to Sheridan, unfurled his list of demands: Increased money, reduced shooting schedule, and—here’s the kicker—the right to review, approve, and potentially veto every Sheridan script. That last part was a non-starter for Sheridan, who famously writes ‘Yellowstone’ himself and believed that 4.5 seasons of megahit TV earned him the right to say no. Paramount walked away shortly thereafter.”

Yellowstone is currently ending after Season 5. There are rumors that Costner’s contract includes a “moral death” clause that gives him complete control over how his character ends up on the show. During one of the actor’s earlier renegotiations—possibly following the show’s near-death experience in the Season Three finale—the clause was added.

Regretfully, it appears more and more likely that Costner will not revisit the series.

Exploring the Possibility of John Dutton’s Fate in Yellowstone Season 5 

Yes, Kevin Costner is set to leave Yellowstone due to a disagreement with co-creator Taylor Sheridan, following months of conjecture. 

Kevin Costner in Yellowstone (2018-present)
Kevin Costner in Yellowstone (2018-present)

According to sources who spoke with ET Online, the actor is leaving following a protracted internal dispute. There were rumors earlier this year that Taylor Sheridan and Costner were at odds on the Yellowstone set because the latter could not commit to filming Season 5 through to the end. The actor apparently only wanted to film for a week during the second half of Yellowstone Season 5. 

The best course of action for Yellowstone season 5, part 2, might be to kill John Dutton if Costner really does not return. Even though a character may feel embarrassed by death, in general, killing John Dutton would seem more honorable than writing him off as conveniently ill or away on a trip.

Anyway, with or without Kevin Costner, Yellowstone is sure to leave fans craving more. 


Yellowstone can be streamed on Peacock and Paramount+. 


Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1640

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1600 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.